Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver shares energy conservation lessons for Earth Hour

Pulse Energy software helps hotel reduce electricity consumption

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      If you’d like to do more for the environment than shut off your lights, Priyan Jayetileke has some ideas.

      Jayetileke, the director of engineering for Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, says improving the energy efficiency of your home or business will conserve electricity, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and save you money.

      In the lead-up to the eighth annual Earth Hour—a worldwide event organized by WWF—on Saturday (March 29), Jayetileke shared several tips during a media presentation:

      1. Turn off unnecessary lights and install timers and photocells: “A lot of people think photocells are very expensive, but it’s the simplest thing. We did it in the corridors. We are saving a ton of money there.”
      2. Plug all equipment into power bars and shut them off at night: “You don’t realize that the power bar that is on is drawing power all the time.”
      3. Install low-flow toilets and shower heads: “It’s water-saving.”
      4. Buy only Energy Star-certified appliances: “Audit all old appliances.”
      5. At spring cleaning, check furnaces: “Have you checked your furnace? Have you checked your filter? Have you checked your compressor?”
      6. Clean dust and grease off electronics: “Look at the amount of grease build-up in your light fixtures and your fluorescent tubes. If you can just clean it up a little, you’ll get more energy.”

      According to Jayetileke, making such changes has allowed Four Seasons to reduce its electricity consumption by 4,000 megawatt hours—representing a savings of $135,000—since fall 2012.

      “Everybody thinks saving money is changing light bulbs to LED lights,” Jayetileke said on the fourth-floor pool deck. “Thirty-three percent of the energy is heating and cooling. A lot of people don’t even look at heating and cooling.”

      Fall 2012 is when Four Seasons started using software from Pulse Energy, a Vancouver-based company that works with utilities such as B.C. Hydro to help their customers improve their energy efficiency.

      During a Q&A session after the presentation, Pulse cofounder and CEO David Helliwell noted two major sources of energy waste are equipment running around the clock even when not in use, and air being heated and cooled inefficiently.

      “So, you’ve got air coming in, heated up, cooled down,” Helliwell said. “It’s amazing that you can get the right output air temperature but use three times more energy than you need to.”

      Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver uses software from Pulse Energy to improve its energy efficiency.
      Stephen Hui

      Pulse’s software—which is available to small, medium, and large businesses through utilities in Canada, the U.S., and other countries—analyzes buildings and recommends energy-saving actions. According to Helliwell, the Pulse Platform has helped participating B.C. Hydro customers realize an average energy savings of 11.5 percent.

      On his iPad, Jayetileke brought up the Pulse software, which showed the hotel had consumed 11,080 megawatt hours of electricity in the past year—10.7 percent less than the previous year.

      Jayetileke also noted that Four Seasons recently enlisted the services of Vancouver-based Kiko Water Systems, which uses physics to allow faster heating and cooling of water. He expects the hotel to save $60,000 by the end of the year due to this change alone.

      Pulse Energy's infographic on Earth Hour.

      This year, Earth Hour takes place from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Participants will switch off their lights for the hour “as a symbol for their commitment to the planet”, the Earth Hour website states.

      According to B.C. Hydro, British Columbians saved 136 megawatt hours of electricity and reduced the province’s electricity load by 1.95 percent during Earth Hour 2013.